Twitter Crushes RSS with Personality

, Wellesley, MA

A little Monday morning observation:

One of the many reasons Twitter has so much traction whereas RSS and Atom have been fading is Twitter’s emphasis on personality, whereas RSS tends to have faceless content feeds.

This isn’t such a new observation, but it’s still true today. Dave McClure, the 500 Startups guy, not my brother, wrote about the Faces in 2009.

Compare a list of feeds I follow on Twitter and in Google Reader.

Twitter: Twitter

Google Reader: Google Reader

Only Joel Spolsky uses his photo as his feed favicon.

Why don’t more people do that? Because people think of their RSS feeds as their blog’s feed, whereas they think of their Twitter feeds as their personal feed. And the RSS tools reinforce that idea by deemphasizing feed photos.

The difference is amplified in the eye of the reader. Would you rather follow a faceless feed, or one with personality?

PS. I’d love recommendations for alternative RSS readers if you use one you love.

Enjoyed reading this post? Discuss it on Reddit, or follow me on Twitter.